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Dinosaur Attraction at Disney's Animal Kingdom in Orlando, Florida
Credit: Disney

OpEd: How ‘Indiana Jones’ Could Save this Disney Park

The Walt Disney World Resort unfolded unprecedented updates during recent weeks, but one Disney Park remains in the dark regarding the future development of a somewhat forgotten land. Now, one ride from Disneyland could help revitalize Disney’s Animal Kingdom like never before.

Tree of Life at Disney's Animal Kingdom

Credit: Disney

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There’s no beating around the bush on this one; Disney Park fans have long wondered what the future holds for DINOSAUR, formerly Countdown to Extinction.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park in Orlando, Florida, DinoLand, U.S.A., has sadly become the “black sheep” of this beloved Disney Park. However, fans are still loyal to what once essentially was the Toontown of Animal Kingdom.

DINCOSAUR

Credit: Disney

During the 2022 D23 Expo, Josh D’Amaro, Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products, shared “Blue Sky” ideas for DinoLand, U.S.A., showcasing Walt Disney Imagineering concept art and verbally describing a future Zootopia (2016) takeover that could potentially see the extinction of Bill Nye the Science Guy and his DINOSAUR attraction at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

With Primeval Whirl joining the way of the dodo earlier this year, every Disney Parks fan is particular that DinoLand, U.S.A., won’t last much longer.

Tricera Top Spin

Credit: Disney

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Now that the future is bright for Walt Disney World, could Indiana Jones Adventure from Disneyland Park make the perfect replacement for DINOSAUR?

Considering that the Mouse House aims to cut exuberant costs in retheming DinoLand, U.S.A., re-fitting DINOSAUR to the show building of Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye could be the company’s best bet.

Of course, we’re putting our “Blue Sky” and Imagineering hats on here, as Disney has not announced any news considering the future of Dinosaur. Considering that Dinosaur is a fan favorite and remains one of the most beloved “classic” attractions at the Walt Disney World Resort, it’s evident that not every Guest would be behind the extinction of Dinosaur.

Indiana Jones Adventure, Disneyland

Credit: Disney

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Nonetheless, considering that Indiana Jones shares the same track layout as DINOSAUR (as Imagineering re-used the blueprints for Indiana Jones for Animal Kingdom), re-shaping this Walt Disney World attraction would be far more affordable than outright building an entirely new show building for another attraction.

On top of that, Indiana Jones could usher in an Amazonian theme that’s cohesive with the overall storytelling of Disney’s Animal Kingdom rather than sticking Zootopia into the southeast section of the Park.

Expedition Everest at Disney's Animal Kingdom

Credit: Disney

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Having one of the most legendary and thrilling attractions copied and pasted onto the East Coast would bring Walt Disney World unprecedented success, as fans globally love the Indiana Jones Adventure at Disneyland.

With The Walt Disney Company and Lucasfilm revitalizing the classic Steven Spielberg and George Lucas franchise that all started with Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) with director James Mangold’s Indiana Jones 5 (2023), it’s clear that Harrison Ford and his classic character aren’t fading out of pop culture anytime soon.

indiana jones adventure at Disneyland Park

Credit: Disney

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With a FIGMENT film inspired by EPCOT’s Journey Into Imagination attraction, there’s no telling what Disney has up their creative sleeve, especially as Imagineering keeps pondering what the future holds for DinoLand, U.S.A., and more.

If Disney were to retheme DINOSAUR, Indiana Jones might be the most cost-effective as the two attractions share the same physical layout. Anything Temple of Doom (1984) related would bring enough fright and excitement for Guests of all ages.

More about the Indiana Jones Adventure

Since 1995, Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Forbidden Eye has entertained millions of Guests at Disneyland in Anaheim, California.

Widely regarded as one of the best attractions in theme Park history, Indiana Jones Adventure is a must-stop for all Disneyland visitors. In one sitting, Guests travel through a doomed temple, escape the jaws of a ginormous snake and dodge a rolling boulder the size of a house!

Indiana Jones Adventure Queue in Disneyland

Credit: Disney

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Set in the Lost Delta in 1935, Guests:

Follow Indy’s footsteps into the crumbling Temple of the Forbidden Eye past intricate booby traps. Inspect carvings and frescos that tell the story of Mara, a powerful deity who promises great treasures—and vengeance to those foolish enough to gaze into its all-seeing eyes. Board a rugged troop transport and enter the Chamber of Destiny. Confront inconceivable dangers, like precarious precipices over molten lava, screaming mummies, swarms of giant insects, spear-throwing wraiths, collapsing bridges, slithering snakes—and a massive rolling boulder.

One of the main reasons so many people love the Indiana Jones Adventure is the extreme attention to detail throughout the ride. In the queue alone, there are over 1,300 props that help tell the story of Indy’s latest adventure. Guests with a sharp eye can spot props from 1981’s Raiders of the Lost Ark, including the screen-used German Patrol Truck at the attraction’s entrance in Adventureland.

Once inside the 0.5-mile-long queue for Temple of the Forbidden Eye, Guests are transported to the 1930s. Keep an open eye, and you can find screen-used items from the Indiana Jones films like old magazines, radios, maps, and artifacts.

Indiana Jones Adventure

Credit: D23

Have you ever noticed those weird markings on the walls and passageways of the ride queue? To keep Guests entertained while waiting in line, Imagineering created their language and hid secret messages in plain sight! During the opening of Temple of the Forbidden Eye, Guests were given unique decoder cards to crack the codes!

Some of the messages read:

Mara shall guide you through the doorway of your most secret desire in the chamber of destiny.”

One Iook will lead through the tunnel of torment to the gates of doom.”

“True rewards await those who choose wisely.” 

You can still go to a Cast Member working in the attraction and ask for a decoder card!

More about DINOSAUR

The official Walt Disney World website reads:

A paleontologist recruits you for a secret mission to bring a 3.5-ton Iguanadon back to the present. There’s just one problem—the giant meteor that wiped out life on Earth is on the way!

Board a rugged Time Rover vehicle and set off on a thrilling adventure through a primeval forest filled with life-like dinosaurs. Careen through unpredictable hairpin turns. Dart around a fearsome Velociraptor hunting for prey. Avoid the clutches of a Cearadactylus soaring overhead!

As the clock counts down, fiery meteors crash down around you. Will you make your escape before the dinosaurs—and you—become extinct?

More about Walt Disney World Resort

From Cinderella Castle and Space Mountain at the Magic Kingdom to Spaceship Earth at EPCOT and Kilimanjaro Safari, Kali River Rapids and Expedition Everest in Hollywood Studios or Hollywood Tower of Terror at Hollywood Studios, every Disney fan is transported into a fantastical reality of excitement and magic as they experience Orlando, Florida’s most thrilling travel destination.

The Walt Disney World Resort hosts a plethora of other fun options for Guests of all ages, including Disney Springs.

Disclaimer: The opinions in this article are the writer’s and may not reflect the sentiments of Disney Fanatic as a whole.

About Alex Lue